The 19th century missionary John Paton not only faced the threat of disease on the island of Tanna. He was constantly threatened and attacked by the natives who assumed that everything that went wrong in their world was as a result of the anger of their gods at the invasion of the Gospel.

“One day,” he wrote, “...Natives in large numbers were assembled at my house. A man furiously rushed on me with his axe; but a Kaserumini Chief snatched a spade with which I had been working and dexterously defended me from instant death.

“Life is such circumstances led me to cling very near to the Lord Jesus. I knew not, for one brief hour, when or how attack might be made. And yet, with my trembling hand clasped in the hand once nailed on Calvary, and now swaying the sceptre of the Universe, calmness and peace and resignation abode in my soul.

“Next day, a wild Chief followed me about for four hours with his loaded musket, and, though often directed toward me, God restrained his hand. I spoke kindly to him and attended to my work as if he has not been there, fully persuaded that my God had placed me there, and would protect me till my allotted task was finished. Looking up in unceasing prayer to our dear Lord Jesus, I left all in his hands, and felt immortal till my work was done.”

John G. Paton: Missionary to the New Hebrides (p.117)